In the worst way, I wanted to wipe that self-satisfied smirk off his face. Although I’d never previously resorted to violence, I instinctively knew that every court in the land, or at least in Pacific County, would vindicate me.
“The house will fall down around your ears,” he continued. “You’ll end up selling it.”
Did he really think I’d change my mind about divorcing him just to have a live-in maintenance man? Well, think again!
That conversation took place 25 years ago, and I’m proud to say I’m still living in the aforementioned home. But I’ll admit, there have been times when I was deathly afraid he was going to be right. (Granted, it would be the first time, but I suppose it could happen…)
I’ve had to hire contractors to replace/repair the roof twice, have had to exterminate carpenter ants and/or yellow jackets about every fourth year, am on my fifth lawn mower guy (through no fault of my own), and I have two plumbers on speed dial!
Yet those are the easier challenges. Despite the time lapse, I’ve yet to figure out how to permanently rid my lawn of marauding moles, and the deck railing has needed to be replaced for at least a full decade.
But yesterday’s “Adventure in Homeownership” takes the cake. (I almost shouldn’t write about it here, because I’m pretty sure the scene will magically show up someday soon in one of novels.)
Nevertheless, yesterday morning as I was minding my own business, happily at work in my home office, I heard someone rapping at the front door. At least I thought it was the front door. Yet when I opened it, no one was there.
I returned to the office, and just about the time I got settled back down to type, I heard the rapping again. I sat stone-still until it came a third time.
CRAP!! It only took me a few seconds to realize where the noise was coming from and what it meant. A woodpecker was obviously demolishing the side of my house!
Granted, I live in the woods, but doesn’t that mean the woodpeckers have the whole friggin’ FOREST to hammer holes in?! Enraged, I looked around for a weapon.
I grabbed my pepper spray and ran out the front door. Yes, pepper spray. And I admit that in my stocking feet, I stalked that little pecker head! Oh, I wasn’t going to spray him, just the area of the house he was drilling holes into. But I never got the chance.
Before I could round the corner of the house, he flew right by me and up into the trees, which was quite fine by me!
SO THERE, Mr. Ex! I defended my home in a crisis, and I triumphed! Neener-neener! The house still stands!
(Now if I could just figure out how to eradicate those moles…)
I sighed. “Remember the television sitcom ‘Murphy Brown’?”
“With Candice Bergen.” My friend nodded. “Of course. She’s still one of my all-time TV heroes. So what’s that have to do with the name of your new car?”
I sighed again. “Just like Murphy’s baby, much to my chagrin, it turns out that my car’s a boy.”
“Seriously?” she asked. “Just because it’s blue?”
But no, the color had little, if anything, to do with it, and although everyone I knew had just assumed I’d get a red Mustang, I’d bought the first one that truly inspired my imagination, which just happened to be a Kona blue coupe with black racing stripes, enhanced air flow and exhaust systems, and about 355 horses under the hood.
I’d been driving the car about a week the first time someone asked its gender.
“Don’t know yet,” I replied. I was at the Great Day Café in Surfside, having lunch.
“Check under the hood,” said the affable and eavesdropping Steve from behind the counter where he was preparing our fabulous sandwiches.
Everyone laughed. Not to be outdone, I retorted with, “You mean I should check to see if there’s ‘junk in the trunk,’ and if there is, then it’s definitely a boy?”
I was pleased to note that the laughs were a wee bit bigger, although some people were undoubtedly covering their embarrassment at my lack of mouth filter.
Nevertheless, I feel a dominant rush of power whenever I get behind the wheel, and I enjoy the deep, rumbling growls when I start it up, so it’s a pretty safe bet it’s a male. I can tell by the way it takes my breath away whenever I am near it. No offense meant to anyone who leans otherwise, but only a guy could ever make my heart beat so wildly.
“So have you named HIM yet?” my friend asked again, several weeks later.
“XANTHUS?” She shook her head. “Are you going to tell me, or are you going to make me Google it?”
I smiled. “In Greek mythology, Xanthus was one of Achilles’ two immortal horses.”
“Of course it was.” My friend laughed. “So now I suppose you two will become the new dynamic duo: Jan and Xan.”
Was there ever any doubt?
It must be my week to get out and listen to some great music. Tonight, Tony Starlight brings his “Neil Diamond Tribute” to the Venetian Theatre in Hillsboro, and I’ll be up in the balcony watching the engaged audience participation, and happily singing along.
I’ve seen this show before. It was my first introduction to the man behind the Tony Starlight Supperclub and Lounge in northeast Portland. Since then, I’ve seen his fabulous “Christmas Extravaganza,” his “A.M. Gold,” (songs of the 70s), and this past Valentine’s Day, his “Dean Martin Tribute.”
They’ve all been great, but his Neil Diamond show is my favorite, and I can’t wait to see it again. So if you’ve of a mind to enjoy a wonderful night on the town, there’s still time, but you better hurry. Show starts at 8 p.m.!
Meanwhile, here’s a five and half minute overview of Tony’s amazing talent, showmanship, and fun! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNdWYDrdOmw ENJOY!
Who immediately comes to mind when you read, “Obie took twenty-seven eight-by-ten color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one to be used as evidence against us.”
Yep, the very same guy who wrote and sang the ever-popular classic, “I don’t want a pickle—just want to ride my motorcycle….”
But radio stations of the early 70s rarely played those two tunes. Instead, they chose to air “The City of New Orleans,” which is a fine song, and much, much, shorter without the rambling stories inserted. Rambling stories, which became the trademark of none other than Woody Guthrie’s son Arlo.
And now Arlo Guthrie is joined by his own son Abe (on keyboards and vocals) on a nation-wide tour known as “Here Comes the Kids.” The tour continues to focus on the Woody Guthrie Centennial, but promises to contain more of Arlo’s own material.
Rick and I will be in attendance during Arlo’s Portland stop tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to a brisk walk down Nostalgia Lane, and expect I’ll be singing along with more than a few of the tunes. (Woody wrote the historically correct 7-verse “Roll On, Columbia,” which I attempted to teach to hundreds of elementary students, as well as “This Land is Your Land,” his most popular and enduring song.)
And I’m hoping that sometime during the show, we’ll be treated to a modified version of “Alice’s Restaurant.” Cause it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it.
Back in the day, baby girls were always wrapped in pink, and baby boys in blue. I’ve never been a pink kind of gal myself, always leaning toward the cooler side of the color wheel, towards the greens and blues and purples.
I wonder if that’s because I was wrapped in a baby blue blanket at birth. (And how come there’s a “baby blue” and not a “baby pink” anyway?)
Being a Gemini, the sign of the twins, I’ve always figured that meant I could have at least two “favorite colors,” so I picked purple and green, since blue seemed to be unalterably reserved for boys.
Famed (and local!) watercolor artist Charles Mulvey reinforced the gender bias of color when he came to do a demonstration for the sixth graders. As he painted the familiar “couple walking on the beach” scene, he told us how the taller one always wore a blue jacket and the shorter one wore red.
“What would happen if you switched the colors?” I asked.
Charles laughed. “I tried that,” he replied. “The painting didn’t sell.”
I found that observation very interesting, but also rather disturbing. Is our color comfort zone automatically restricted by societal conditioning?
With this question in mind, I did a little investigative research. Undeniably, the color favorites of men and women seem to follow the pattern. The majority of females I queried leaned toward the warmer size of the wheel, predominantly red, while the men strongly favored blue, and the colors closest to it.
Which then led me to consider that perhaps I have a higher testosterone level than most women—or maybe it explains why I have so many more men than women friends. (YEs, it’s weird stuff like this that keeps me awake at night!)
“I like them all,” he said. “I never met color I didn’t like.” And when pressed to choose just one, he stubbornly refused. “It’s either rainbow—or darkness.”
I am most grateful for friends like that—friends who push me to think outside the box. Or better yet, those who tell me there is no box, and that I should immediately stop putting limitations on my thinking.
So now I ask you—what’s YOUR favorite color—and why?